US, UK express support for Nigeria’s elections, may place travel ban electoral defaulters

The United States has said the conduct of the upcoming elections in Nigeria is important not only for Nigeria, but for the African continent.

Also,  twenty-three days to the Presidential and National Assembly elections and 37 days to the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections, the British High Commission in Abuja has reaffirmed its strong support for free, fair and peaceful elections in Nigeria.

Their positions were contained in separate statements but emailed jointly to Apex News from the US Embassy in Abuja.

However, according to the United States, its government does not support any specific candidate or party in Nigeria’s upcoming elections but supports the Nigerian democratic process itself.  “We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent, and peaceful electoral process,” the statement pointed out.

The statement said, “We, and other democratic nations, will be paying close attention to actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process or instigate violence against the civilian population before, during, or after the elections. “

It warned that it will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process.  “Under US immigration law, certain violations may also lead to restrictions on family members,” the statement added.

For UK statement, it said “We and our international partners remain committed supporters of Nigeria’s democracy.  We do not support any party or individual and believe that the Nigerian people should be able to choose their leaders in an environment free from hate speech and insecurity.”

According to the statement, UK will continue to provide significant support to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and to Nigerian civil society to help them deliver credible elections.

It explained that UK will also regularly engage with actors across the political spectrum to encourage them to respect electoral rules and maintain an atmosphere of peace and calm and deploy an extensive observation mission for the forthcoming elections, including coordinating with the EU’s Election Observation Mission.

The statement said, it monitors will in particular be looking out for any attempts to encourage or use violence to influence the elections, including on social media. “We would like to remind all Nigerians that where the UK is aware of such attempts, this may have consequences for individuals.  These could include their eligibility to travel to the UK, their ability to access UK based funds or lead to prosecution under international law,” it stated.

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